According to Jon Heyman the Cubs have agreed to sign pitcher Carlos Villanueva. Villanueva, 29 has spent time as both a reliever and a starting pitcher. Cub fans probably remember him during his stint with the Brewers in which he did most of his work out the pen. Last year with the Blue Jays he made 16 starts and over the last two years he has made 29. He will be looking for the opportunity to win a spot in the rotation and hopefully have a chance to be a starter. No news yet on the terms of the deal. As more becomes known we will let you know.
Deal is confirmed, 2 years $10M for Villanueva, here is more from mlbtraderumors.com
Villanueva, 29, pitched to a 4.16 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 125 1/3 innings spread across 16 starts and 22 relief appearances for the Blue Jays last season. He’s made 29 starts and 42 relief appearances over the last two seasons and has proven capable in both roles. Earlier this offseason we heard Villanueva was reportedly seeking the opportunity to make 30 starts next season, an opportunity the Cubs can provide.
Read more at http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/#em7qv4cy58jEhbbl.99
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Initial reports are that its a 5 year deal worth $75 million. Much more as it comes and once I can get in front of a computer. Great move here if its true, haven’t seen anything official.
[UPDATE] Lot’s of updates rolling in, all of them saying this deal is not official and the Tigers are still very much in the mix here.
[UPDATE #2] Per a number of sources it’s down to the Cubs and Tigers with the Tigers holding the possible advantage after matching the Cubs offer, it’s a waiting game now…..so you’re saying there’s a chance..
[UPDATE #3] Still no movement with Sanchez, and the last word was that a decision will come tonight, so stay tuned. Things might get interesting, and maybe the Tigers aren’t the clear cut favorite anymore.
Your morning update, per Ken Rosenthal the Cubs have upped their offer to 5 years and $77.5 million, the Tigers sit at $75 million still, we will see what happens. After a decision was expected last night it was clear that the Cubs were in the process of trying to negotiate as it was announced that there would be no decision until at least today. Theo and Jed usually get the guy they want, especially one that was already in their system in Boston, see Anthony Rizzo, and Sanchez fits that mold. I’ll keep updating this post today.
[UPDATE #4] Of course right after Rosenthal says that, Jon Heyman says the Cubs are out of the Anibal Sanchez race and it seems likely he takes less money and stays with the Tigers, nothing official yet.
[UPDATE #5] Bob Nightengale, the same guy who “broke” the story of the Cubs signing Sanchez last night has confirmed today that Sanchez has agreed to stay with the Tigers on a 5 year $80M deal, too rich for my blood. If I’m the Cubs I stay in Detroit and try to get Porcello away from the Tigers.
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The Cubs continue to look to the future with keeping an eye on the present as they have acquired two players today that could be part of both. The first news of the day was the Cubs claiming Sandy Rosario off of waivers from the Red Sox. Rosario put up some dominant numbers last year across three minor league levels with the Marlins. In 31.2 innings Rosario had a 1.99 ERA with a 8.2 K/9, and a 1.4 BB/9, pretty impressive. Rosario has been claimed three different times this winter, I’m assuming he will be part of the Cubs 2013 bullpen or at least he will be given every chance to be.
The second news of the day was a tad more interesting. Cubs Den is reporting that the Cubs have agreed to sign Korean pitcher Chang-yong Lim, pending a physical. The Korean reliever is coming off of TJS in July so he might not be ready to pitch this season. Odds are he would be ready to pitch out of the Cubs pen near the end of 2013 but the Cubs might not want to go that route. 2014 would be the expected debut for Lim, it’s an intriguing signing, and another example of the Cubs doing their due diligence everywhere in order to improve.
John over at Cubs Den has some solid info on Lim:
“Lim is a relief pitcher and like Fujikawa sees a potential opening in the back end of the Cubs bullpen, with the team likely to part ways with Marmol between now and next season.
In 2011, Kim pitched 62.1 innings and recorded 32 saves, posting a 2.17 ERA for Yakult of the NPB. He walked 22 batters and struck out 69. For his career he has 128 saves and a 2.08 ERA with 2.6 walks and 8.9 strikeouts per 9 innings.
His nickname is “Mr. Zero”. e has a slight build, 5’11”, 175 lbs but throws hard. He is a sidearm pitcher and according to Wikipedia has the highest k own velocity for a sidearmer, able to hit 99 mph but more regularly sitting at 93-95. He also throws a slider, a forkball, and an occasional slow curve. He’s not a prototypical power closer, but his unorthodox sidearm/fireballing style may be difficult for MLB hitters at first.
At first glance it doesn’t seem to fit with the Cubs plan to build with youth but Lim was sought after by several contenders. The front office has said they want to build value through the closer role and now have signed two top NPB closers who have an excellent chance to outperform their contracts.”
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I mentioned it when the Cubs non-tendered him and I mentioned it again last night on Twitter, I think Ian Stewart will be back. Today we got confirmation that he is indeed coming back to the Cubs as they have agreed on a one year deal worth $2MM which also includes $500K in incentives. Stewart played the last two years with a broken bone in his wrist, imagine that for a second. The guy can pick it at third base, and if he is indeed 100% healthy, like everyone is saying he is, then he might be a breakout player for the Cubs this year. He could still be a bust, but I want to see what he can do at 100% without fear that he will lose his job or playing time to injury. He’s still only 27 and if he remains healthy and “figures it out” he could be at the hot corner for the Cubs for a long time. People just look at numbers and scream he can’t get it done, which I get, I really do, but the guy plays good defense, works counts, and can hit the ball out of the park from the left side of the plate, for two million I’ll take that chance everyday of the week. Yet another player on a one year prove it deal as well, Stewart should have all sorts of motivation coming into 2013, an awful lot of doubters and the opportunity to be a FA heading into next season at 28 coming off a monster year, go get em kid.
Just an update in regards to the contract, this is a non-guaranteed contract, meaning Stewart goes into Spring Training as the starter, if he gets released then the Cubs are completely off the hook for that money, they owe him nothing. That right there is a no lose situation, folks.
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There was some speculation that the Cubs were looking to deal their 2nd overall pick in the Rule 5 draft today, but as Carrie Muskat reported they intended to pick and keep the player they picked. Today the Cubs selected 25 year old RHP Hector Rondon from the Indians. The guy I wanted the Cubs to take was Josh Fields, they couldn’t as he went #1 overall to the Astros. Rondon was 2009 minor league pitcher of the year for the Indians and like many guys the Cubs take a chance on he had Tommy John Surgery in 2010. Rondon hasn’t pitched that much in the last couple of years, but the Cubs must think that he is just about all the way back as Rondon will have to crack the 25 man roster as he was selected in “major league” portion of the Rule 5 draft.
Some unfortunate news, the D-Backs selected Starlin Peralta, and intriguing arm that pitched in the Cubs system last year, but never above A ball. The news doesn’t really get any better as the Cubs lost Michael Burgess to the Astros, and Matt Cerda to the Cardinals. Both guys are not considered “top prospects” and might not make it to the big leagues, but it isn’t a lot of fun to see guys you covered all year disappear from the organization. News coming in that the Jays just selected RHP Alvido Jimenez from the Cubs as well, they are getting poached! Don’t worry, none of these guys are considered major league level talent, except for Peralta maybe.
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This might be the beginning of the Cubs starting to make some noise at the winter meetings, sure it’s not huge names but it’s something. Per Jerry Crasnick of ESPN the Cubs have signed outfielder Nate Schierholtz to a one year deal. Schierholtz played for both the Giants and Phillies last year, and in 269 games had a slash line of .257/.321/.407. The 29-year-old was non-tendered by the Phillies last week, this could be a chance for Schierholtz to have an everyday job in right field as the Cubs could move DeJesus to CF, assuming he’s still on the club. Schierholtz was being pursued by the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Orioles, and Mets, and turned down an offer from the Orioles. Crasnick updated his report to include the particulars of the deal, one year deal worth $2.25M guaranteed big league deal plus $500K in incentives.
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I’m sure like me, all of you have been waiting on pins and needles to see what the next Cubs move or rumor would be coming from this week’s Winter Meetings. Well thanks to Bruce Levine we have it, the Cubs and Ryan Dempster’s agent have discussed a possible return to the Cubs. If you are done laughing I will continue, yes Ryan Dempster, the same Ryan Dempster that was “blindsided” by a trade that would have brought Randall Delgado to the Cubs at last seasons trade deadline, I hope he knows his agent is talking to the Cubs. Given everything that happened last year would you as a fan want Dempster back? If the initial deal last year at the trade deadline went through I’m sure that answer would be a resounding yes, but as it was clear Dempster was going to drag any possible deal right up to the deadline Cubs fans grew tired of his act, and him.
So is this really possible? Yes, it is, in fact the Cubs need pitching depth even with their recent signings of the two Scott’s, Baker and Feldman. The surprise is that it is Dempster, and per Levine the Cubs and Dempster’s agent have discussed money and length of contract but no offer has been made. Up until this evening the Brewers and Royals have shown the most interest in Dempster, with Dempster already turning down a 2 year $26MM offer from the Royals because he wants a third year. The door seems like it’s open for the Cubs to make a play here but Levine cautions that there is a sticking point….wait for it… Levine sees a no-trade as a potential obstacle to Dempster returning to the Cubs. You can’t make this up! Ah Dempster, the lovable jokester, my favorite joke was last year at the deadline, but it seems as though he’s shooting for a new high, or low with this one. More as it comes.
Report of Cubs-Dempster talks grossly misrepresents their nature. Negotiations not happening. Reunion implausible. #courtesy
Wittenmyer says not so fast to Levine’s report, I would tend to side with Gordon on this one.
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Per Danny Knobler of CBS, the Cubs have hired the now former color man from the Astros Jim Deshaies. MLB.com’s Alyson Footer says that Knoblers report is accurate and Deshaies has the job. Deshaies interviewed for the Cubs job about a month ago, and now it’s his per the report. Not a name that many will recognize as everyone, myself included thought immediately about past Cubs players that are now in the business, but the Cubs went in the exact opposite direction, and I think that’s a good thing.
Brett at Bleacher Nation had a good bit of info on Deshaies from when he interviewed for the job.
“When Bob Brenly departed, because of the high profile nature of the Cubs’ gig, I expected more names like Deshaies to pop up – non-Cubs-connected broadcasters who just happen to be really good at their job. By all accounts, Deshaies is that. A particularly notable bit from the above-linked Patrick Mooney article, is a selection from Houston Press’s 2008 Best Commentator distinction: “Jim Deshaies had some tough shoes to fill when he took over the Astros analyst spot from Larry Dierker. But let’s just say, as J.D. settles into his second decade as the Astros TV analyst, that he has not only surpassed Dierker, he has perhaps surpassed every other analyst in baseball. The former starting pitcher knows the ins and outs of the game, from pitching to hitting to fielding to strategy. Best of all, he’s not a homer, and if the good guys goof up, he’ll let you know how and why. And then there’s his quick wit and his ability to throw out a Seinfeld reference or obscure pop culture trivia at a moment’s notice. Nothing gets past Deshaies, and, if you pay attention, you’ll learn more from him than just about any baseball geek in the country.” Knows the game, shares stories, calls players out for obvious screw-ups, pop-culture references. Sound familiar?”
Really sounds like a nice hire, and I’ve personally enjoyed listening to Deshaies via highlights of Astros games here and there. The Cubs and WGN have yet to confirm, but it sounds like a done deal. How about that, the first signing by the Cubs coming out of the Winter Meetings is Len Kasper’s broadcast partner.
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As reported by Ken Rosenthal the Cubs have reached an agreement pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa. The 32- year- old closer has pitched the last six years for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan where he has 202 career saves with a 1.36 ERA. The deal is for two years with a vesting option worth 9.5 million. According to Rosenthal the deal breaks down as follows: $1M signing bonus, $4M for both 2013 and 2014 seasons, plus $5.5M or $6M based on games finished. If the option does not vest their is a $500K buyout.
It was speculated that Fujikawa was going to sign with the Angels, but the Cubs swooped in and grabbed him. The Cubs will now have a decision to make, whether Carlos Marmol or Fujikawa will close. I am sure the Cubs will still actively be trying to move Marmol, so we will just have to wait and see what happens. Even if Marmol does not get moved I would not be surprised to see Fujikawa as the closer.
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Some Cubs roster moves today, figured this was coming based on the comments from Jed Hoyer earlier in the day.
via Bleacher Nation
“According to Paul Sullivan, Carrie Muskat, and Bruce Miles on Twitter, Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said a couple interesting things this afternoon:
(1) He expects the Cubs’ 40-man roster to be under 40 by tonight (it currently stands at 40); and
(2) The Cubs are “very likely” (per Sullivan) to have a couple of non-tenders (Muskat used the words “may have a couple non-tendered”).”
This led to some speculation that there would be an unexpected non-tender as the five arbitration eligible players were Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, James Russell, Luis Valbuena, and Ian Stewart. Not the case, and I think there was some confusion in the reporting process of Hoyer’s comments, so moving onto the news of the day.
The Cubs non-tendered Ian Stewart, Zach Putnam, and Jaye Chapman today, essentially making them free agents immediately. All three players drop off the 40 man roster, leaving the 40 man roster at 37 currently. I said essentially free agents because teams sometimes do this to save money on arbitration eligible players. If the Cubs think that they can still sign all three players but at a lesser cost, it makes sense to non-tender them and then sign them on the open market. With that said, all three players are now in the FA pool and any team can sign them.
The did tender Matt Garza, Jeff Samardzija, James Russell, and Luis Valbuena. All four of those players remain under Cubs control for 2013, and will go through the arbitration process early next year unless contract extensions can be worked out.
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